The Challenge: How can we re-imagine solutions to finance the growth of SMEs and trade to unlock prosperity for the world’s communities?
Sustainable Development Goal 9 (SDG 9) is based on three interconnected pillars: infrastructure, industry and innovation. How can we re-imagine these as facilitators of growth and development in a connected world? 80% of world trade is believed to be intermediated through global supply chains. 90% of business worldwide is driven by small and medium sized enterprises, in turn driving up to 60% of employment. 80% of global merchandise annual trade flows rely on financing from financial institutions. Financial services are the lifeblood of commerce, commerce in turn driven by entrepreneurs and small businesses. In developing countries in particular, one of the main barriers to the growth of SMEs is a lack of access to finance, including trade finance; limiting the mobilisation of resources, growth in prosperity and flourishing of communities. Supporting SMEs and trade worldwide and in particular developing markets, plays a key role in helping to advance SDG 9.
The Lead2030 Challenge for SDG9 supported by Standard Chartered, launched a global search for young leaders working to increase the access of small-scale enterprises, to financial services, including affordable credit, and their integration into value chains and markets.
Edward Neequaye, Built Accounting
Ghana’s estimated 550,000 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) provide 80% of manufacturing jobs, 90% of existing jobs and continue to contribute 49% to GDP. However, 84% of MSMEs identify access to finance as a significant hinderance to their growth, making them miss valuable opportunities to create employment and generate wealth for themselves and their communities – especially women, who form 42% of Ghanaian MSME owners. Across Sub-Saharan Africa, this translates to a financing gap of $140-170 billion.
Built is a simple financial record keeping mobile application which enables entrepreneurs to keep good financial records to build robust financial profiles for better business decision making, and also to demonstrate their creditworthiness to formal lenders. It makes financial record keeping easy and incentivises this often-neglected practice by enabling its users to easily share their financial data with lenders, lowering their barrier to getting a loan. Through Built’s data driven matching scoring mechanism, Edward and his team provide lenders with new, qualified customers – significantly reducing their customer acquisition costs. Built’s system also helps lending institutions lower their risk and costs, enabling them to lend with improved terms and be more competitive in the financial services market.
Built has worked with over 500 enterprises across all regions in Ghana, helping them to build robust financial profiles that make them better understand their business. Most of these businesses have gone on to raise funds from local banks and investors. Built has secured partnerships with major entrepreneurship support organisations such as the World Bank funded Ghana Tech Lab, TechnoServe, Workshed, Innohub and more. Their partnership with TechnoServe, working on the ENGINE project, led to working directly with 320 enterprises who have gone on to mobilise over $480,000 in credit, thus generating $2.5 million in incremental revenue and creating over 500 new jobs.